Divorced, married, single, wealthy, poor, walkers, drivers, bikers, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Atheist, left handers and right handers, skinny, buffed, short tall, Dark, light, quiet, loud, rebellious, dissenters, straight “A” students and abberants they all have with the right leadership the power to achieve competitive advantage. They can give your competition reasons to murmur on Monday morning.
Diversity is perhaps the least appreciated aspect of business. Often it centers only on race. Attached to the desire of a cohesive workforce over innovation oppositional thinkers are removed or never hired albeit accidentally.
Here are a few strategies in which diversity can make your organization competitive and increase growth.
Embrace minorities of race, thinking, age etc to bring robust engagement to innovative ways of promulgating various viewpoints.
Expect at least that everyone supports the mission of increasing growth by out innovating and exceeding customer expectations every day.
Be wary of meetings where everyone appears to agree without discord. You want divergent views.
Take a more active role in helping minorities adjust to the culture at work as well as in their new communities.
Identify what your needs are.
Make sure your workforce does more than resemble the communities that you operate in. In fact, you want your workforce to be wholly diverse regardless of the community you work in.
Develop a hiring strategy to increase workforce diversity to include people with aberrations on their resume. You want thinkers and doers. Not merely those seeking to comply.
Talk to local organizations with community connections, including churches, cultural institutions and colleges.
Enlist help from nonprofits like the Urban League, the National Council of La Raza or from websites like diversityworking.com that offer searchable channels of minority job hunters.
Expand your search to other cities, states or countries. The Internet makes it easy to cast a wide net.
Ask employees for referrals, since they will have peers in the industry or know qualified candidates who may be looking for work.
Develop and implement an equal opportunity employment policy that exceeds the Federal EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines. Remember you are setting an example of exceeding to “meeting.”
Establish a meritorious hiring practice that is age, race, gender and minority neutral.Create a committee to help implement the policy and come up with new ideas on how to attract more diversity to the company.
Amend the company mission statement to reflect this change.
Be culturally sensitive when describing what makes your company a good place to work.
Provide diversity training in your workplace. All employees should understand that hiring decisions are based on finding the best candidate and not by quotas.
Make sure everyone understand that excellence is met by hiring people who push the envelope of achievement for customers.
Making the recruiting process more transparent can help ease the minds of skeptical employees.
Be sure managers fully understand the benefits of a diverse workplace. They will be implementing personnel policies so should be fully committed to supporting the practice.
Offer benefits such as onsite daycare, childcare subsidies and flexible schedules, and let new hires know that you are willing to accommodate cultural and religious holidays and diversity-friendly (but office appropriate) apparel choices.
If your community doesn’t have familiar cultural offerings like ethnic restaurants, specialty markets or international movies, you can work with the local chamber of commerce to campaign for more diversity and fill those needs.
Give new hires a reason to stay. Listen to them. Truly listen.
Expect your managers to make time to listen to meet with new hires, trouble employees and especially disgruntled customers.
Always have yourself and managers hold brown bag lunches with employees particularly those who are leaving or terminated for honest feedback.
Adapted from wsj.com
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Jim Woods is President of Leadership Matters Institute a personal and professional growth, training and development company committed to the fundamental principle that people have the possibility of success, fulfillment and greatness.